Civil Partnerships announcement: is this Government unwilling to back marriage?
A Christian advocacy group has questioned whether the Government is unwilling to support marriage after it announced all couples in England and Wales will be able to choose a civil partnership rather than get married.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced at today’s Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that the Government is to change the law to enable heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships.
Ministers said the move was an “important step forward for equality”.
Mrs May said: “This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily want to get married.
“As home secretary, I was proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage.
“Now, by extending civil partnerships, we are making sure that all couples, be they same-sex or opposite-sex, are given the same choices in life.”
However, Christian Action Research & Education (CARE) accused the Government of undermining marriage and family policies.
James Mildred, of CARE, described the announcement, coupled with the Government’s rush to implement no fault divorce, as “a double whammy”.
“There is a real narrative developing that this is a Government unwilling to back marriage. We recognise that for some civil partnerships reflect a genuine desire to commit. We think though that marriage is the gold standard of commitment,” said Mr Mildred.
“Making marriage more fiscally accessible should be a priority for this Government, given the huge benefits it brings to adult well-being and child development. We have historically low marriage rates in this country and family breakdown is estimated to cost a staggering £51billion a year,” he continued.
“The Government should be focusing its efforts on developing and announcing pro-marriage, family friendly policies.
“There’s a real danger that today’s decision, however unintentional will just further undermine marriage.”
Picture: A stained-glass window depicts a married couple’s union. (CNS photo/Zita Ballinger Fletcher).Tags: Birmingham, care, Christian, Christian Action Research & Education, civil partnership. Prime Minister, Conservative, Government, James Mildred, law, marriage, Theresa May